Buck's Blog

The Stream-of-Consciousness Journal of a Wargamer
  • .: Welcome to my blog :.

    I'm John R. "Buck" Surdu. I have two Web pages that contain relatively static information about my professional life (including papers I've written) and my hobby life (including information about rules I've written and my wargaming projects). This blog is where I plan to post personal tidbits, like vacation pictures, wargaming projects, etc. Enjoy!
  • Recently Painted Stuff

    Posted By on December 11, 2017

    Attack of the space worms from outer space with space weapons — did I mention they’re from space?

    I recently received these space worms from Hydra Miniatures.  I really like them.  Service from Hydra was excellent.

    When I work them into a Combat Patrol game, I may give them the ability to burrow through the ground and come up behind the enemy.

    I also ordered these ducks from New Zealand.  I really like them, and I recently bought into his new Kickstarter.

    My new contingent of fantasy ducks.

    My duck warrior

    Another duck warrior of the dragon clan.

    Mohawk duck warrior

    A duck wizard

    One of Robin Hood’s Merry Ducks perhaps?

    Female duck cleric ready to whomp someone with that hammer.  You better remember to put down the toilet seat, bub!

    Event List for Barrage Almost Full

    Posted By on December 11, 2017

    The event listing for Barrage 2017 (which will be held January 19 and 20, 2018) is nearly full.  We can handle a couple more Friday and Saturday games, but if you take a look at the Web page, you will see many great events.

    Go to the Web page, www.hawks-barrage.org, and create an account.  Then you can register for the convention.  Once registered, you can submit games or sign up for games.  If after you sign up for a game, something else catches your eye, you can change your mind.

    Don’t miss out on this excellent two-day event.  Come for both days.  Come early, stay late.  Bring a buddy.

    Space Ducks Get Heavy Weapon Support

    Posted By on December 6, 2017

    I found these two duck figures (with the white helmets) at Walmart last week.  They are from a line of metal figures with various Harry Potter, Disney, and Marvel subjects.  This one is GizmoDuck, apparently from the animated series, Duck Tales.  They are quite large, but I think they look pretty good as heavy support robots.

    Star Duck robot support (and other stuff) on the painting table

    I added an Assault Group bazooka to one of them and flame thrower to the other.  This Frinx better watch out.  Next time we play a science fiction Combat Patrol game the Ducks will be unstoppable!

    Barrage Events Listing is Filling Up

    Posted By on December 1, 2017

    Don’t miss your chance to participate is this terrific local convention, now two-action packed days of gaming!

    You can see the outstanding lineup of games by looking here:  https://www.hawks-barrage.org/games/

    TWO Flames of War tournaments!  An ADLG tournament!  Many vendors.  Great games!  This is a great way to recover from the holidays.

    There are many kid-friendly games, so bring that younger gamer in your life along with you.  Don’t miss all the fun.  Come for both days!  The Barrage Web page has a listing of local hotels on the logistics tab.

    Barrage is Getting Closer; the Event List is Filling Up

    Posted By on November 26, 2017

    Barrage planning and preparations continue.  Barrage 2017 will be held 19-20 January 2018.  (Yes, Barrage 2017 will be held in January 2018.)  Our inclement weather day will be the following weekend.

    Take a look at www.hawks-barrage.org to see all the great games on offer.  While the schedule is filling up, there is room for more games.  If you are interested in running a game, you can register your game and even update your description through the Web page.  Come for both days.  Bring a buddy.  Come and enjoy a great two days of low-stress gaming in a friendly venue with no politics.

    … but not just men 18-19. HAWKs events a kid friendly, and we welcome ladies as well as men.

    There are many kid-friendly games, so bring your younger gamers.  See a snapshot of the current Saturday schedule.  The games in purple are kid friendly.  More are being added every week.

    Combat Patrol(TM) Science Fiction

    Posted By on November 23, 2017

    Dave, Ellen, and Chris early in the game before the carnage unfolded.

    Last weekend, my buddy Dave and I drove up to Massachusetts to visit another buddy, Mark (“Ma’k”) for a day of gaming.   Dave, Mark, and I used to game at West Point.  Mark has recently gotten back into gaming, and we used this as a chance to push some lead, swap old war stories, and have fun.   The first game we played was a large Combat Patrol(TM) science fiction game.  Mark used mostly the original WWII rules, but laced it heavily with ideas from the Star Wars supplement and the Japanese morale from the South Pacific supplement.  I think this game shows the flexibility of Combat Patrol(TM) and the ability to include portions of the optional rules and supplements in a “Chinese menu” fashion.  And the game was a lot of fun!

    Old classmates in replica “Gym Alpha” uniform shirts from our cadet days. These replica shirts were a little larger than when we originally wore them 30+ years ago.

    Mark has been collecting vintage science fiction figures from companies like Archive.  We used a selection of star ducks, something called a Frinx, which is sort of lizard looking, Aphids, which are like frog people, and robots.  My contribution to the game were my Frinx in power armor riding glyptodons and a unit of star ducks painted in primary colored uniforms.

    The starting deployment for the good guys. We were trying to restart the captured robot tank to use agains the onslaught of robot men.

    In the scenario we, the good guys, had captured a robot sphere tank (an original Ma’k sculpt) and were trying to put it back into operation.  A swarm of mechanical robot men, the bad guys) were attacking to recover the vehicle.  They began with just a bunch of robots, but they were eventually reinforced by two more robot sphere tanks.

    Aphids defending a ruined building.

    The Aphids are small, and they aren’t very good in hand to hand combat.   Their strength lies in their organic mortars.  The Aphid “platoon” was deployed far forward and made contact with the enemy early while the Frinx and Star Ducks were still advancing to join the fray.

    This is a pretty good view of some of Ma’k’s robots.

    Mark decided to use the Japanese Action Deck from the South Pacific supplement for the robots.  One of the Japanese morale results is “fight to the last man” in which the Japanese unit may not move for the remainder of the game, but they get to ignore most morale results for the rest of the game as well.  On the first turn, we inflicted a few morale checks on one of Dave’s units of robots, and he received this result.  While good for the Japanese when defending, this was not a good result for attacking robots.  Fortunately for Dave, they were in a position with good fields of fire.

    One of two Star Duck mortar teams. We made pretty good use of our mortars throughout the game.

    Frinx in power armor riding glyptodons taking grenade fire from chest-mounted robot grenade launchers.

    Even with the speed of their prehistoric armadillo mounts, the Frinx cavalry took a while to join the fight.  After taking fire in turn two, half of them turned tail (literally) and ran for cover, and it took Chris a while to rejoin the fight.  Even from a distance, however, their long-range blasters enabled them to engage the enemy.

    A Star Duck hero, Lieutenant Ma’k, used his jet pack to leap into the midst of two robot squads. He engaged them with his light saber, even as the Duck mortars were dropping rounds into the melee.

    The Star Ducks have jet packs.  Mark allows them to jump three times during a game, drawing three cards from the Action Deck for movement instead of one.  The Duck hero, Lieutenant Ma’k used this ability to get himself into trouble.  He leapt into melee with elements of two squads of robots.  The Star Duck mortars had rounds in the air.  In Combat Patrol, units fire indirect fire when they activate, but the rounds aren’t resolved until the end of the turn.  Despite several rounds of friendly mortar fire, Lieutenant Ma’k fought bravely.  He eventually succumbed to the greater numbers of the nefarious robot bad guys.

    My Star Duck anti-tank rocket men caught in the blast of the sphere tank’s heat ray.

    About this time the robots received reinforcements in the form of two more squads of robots and two sphere tanks.  The sphere tanks have laser cannons in the sponsons, but their main weapon is a heat ray that looks like the 1960’s War of the Worlds.  My Star Duck anti-tank team was moving forward, but Mark activated before I could fire.  All of my bazooka ducks were incapacitated, except one who was badly wounded, stunned, and having a bad day.  He never got off a shot before the game ended.

    Star Ducks close assaulting a sphere tank with satchel charges.

    While Chris was knocking out one of the tanks with long-range blaster fire, three of my Star Ducks used their jet packs to get onto another one to try to take it out with satchel charges.  In Combat Patrol(TM) you draw a card from the Action Deck and add the result on the “tend sided die” icon to the weapon’s penetration.  If that is greater than the armor where you hit the vehicle, you penetrate.  Had five attempts to penetrate the tank with satchel charges over two turns, but missed by one point twice and missed by a greater number the other times.  I did manage to immobilize it and knock out the heat ray, but we never did knock out the tank by the end of the game.

    At about this time, we called the game.  The siren song of pizza was calling us, and the robots realized that they were no match for the fearsome prowess of our carbon-based duck, Frinx, and Aphid forces.  This was a very fun game, and all the players seemed to have a really good time.  It was interesting to see how Mark’s mashup of different Combat Patrol(TM) options worked.

    Barrage 2017 is just over two months away

    Posted By on November 14, 2017

    Barrage 2017 will be held 19-20 January 2018 in Havre de Grace, Maryland.

    In case of inclement weather, our snow days for Barrage 2017 are 26-27 January.

    The game schedule is filling with excellent games.  New games and game masters are registering every day.  Drop by the site frequently for updates.

    See www.hawks-barrage.org for more information.

    Through the Website, you can create a Barrage account, register for Barrage 2017, and even sign up for games.  If another game shows up in the schedule next week that you like better, you can change your mind until the 18th of January.

    Barrage is a terrific, low-key, fun gaming event.  Reviews of Barrage have been universally positive.  No politics, no hassles, just great games for two days.

    See www.hawks-barrage.org for more details.

    Registration for Barrage 2017 is Open

    Posted By on November 8, 2017


    Registration for Barrage 2017 is open.

    Barrage 2017 will be held on 19-20 January, 2018. Yes, that’s right, Barrage 2017 will be held in January 2018 due to a venue conflict. Registration is now open, and we need prospective GMs and attendees to go to the Web page and register.

    Barrage 2017 continues to grow. Last year we moved to a two-day format, which was very successful. Barrage 2017 will be the biggest and best to date. Gaming will begin on Friday at noon and continue until Saturday evening. Food is available on premises at a reasonable rate, and there are a number of fine restaurants nearby. Please consider staying for both days of gaming.

    Please go to http://www.hawks-barrage.org to sign up for the convention and to run a game. Your support has been important in the success of previous conventions.

    I look forward to seeing you at Barrage!

    Barrage Game Master Premium

    Posted By on October 29, 2017

    I ordered a bunch of compact tape measures to give to game masters at Barrage.  Today I made mockups of the tables that will be stuck to the two sides.  I think they will be a nice gift.


    The Starship Shmootar

    Posted By on October 29, 2017

    Over the past several months I have occasionally posted pictures of works in progress for the space ship I am building for Combat Patrol(TM) science fiction skirmish games.  After finishing up some additional “furniture,” I assembled what I have completed and took a couple of pictures.

    A view of the bridge

    Another view of the bridge

    A final view of the bridge

    I have been building rooms from Depron, which is essentially the foam stuff between cardboard in foam core board.  It cuts easily and glues with Tacky Glue.  The idea is to build a bunch of these boxes and then be able to assemble them in different configurations from game to game.  I haven’t determined what the basic deck of the ship will be made of on which these boxes will be arranged.  Greg has ordered a mat made from mouse pad material that might work.


    The link above is to the warp core to my space ship.

    A look down the hallway. The seam is between two sheets of Depron. I'll eventually replace this base with something more interesting.

    A view of the sick bay

    A view of two bunk rooms

    I printed the doors on card stock.  I found glue sticks that are the kind of glue on post-it notes, so they can be removed and replaced at will.  The glue leaves no residue behind.  In the picture below, you can see what a door looks like when it is opened.  During a game I’ll be able to pull off the closed doors and replace them with opened doors at will.

    The day room and a storage room. The day room needs more furniture.

    A view of the shower / locker room

    The armory on the left and the transporter room on the right

    I made the corner light bars and the doors in PowerPoint.  The corner light bars help hide the seams in the boxes and also provide a sufficiently science fiction look.

    The storage room on the left and the dayroom on the right

    Another view of the armory

    Another view of the corridor

    Well, I figure it is about half completed.  I need to build the engine room, cargo hold, a few more rooms, and some weapon turrets.  It is starting to shape up, however.